What is Oesophageal cancer
Oesophageal cancer is diagnosed in approximately 1500 Australians per year with a low chance of cure. Previously this was most commonly due to cigarette smoking however now it is clear reflux induced Barrett’s Oesophagus is the most common cause. Diagnosis is usually made on a gastroscopy/endoscopy. As with most gastrointestinal related cancers, symptoms present late. These may include worsening indigestion or acid reflux, difficulty swallowing (dysphagia), painful swallowing (odynophagia), bleeding (Dark bowel motion or vomiting/spitting up blood) and unexpected weight loss. Therefore, the key is an early diagnosis for the best possible chance for cure. If the cancer is diagnosed on a gastroscopy/endoscopy early, endoscopic mucosal resection (EMR) can often result in a cure cancer therefore avoiding the need for chemotherapy or radical surgery. However, if the diagnosis is established later, treatment for usually involves Chemotherapy +/- radiotherapy and surgery depending on the type of cancer.
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